New Watches: ERA, TAG Heuer, Audemars Piguet, and Others

Posted by Robert Farago on August 17, 2020

ERA Hyperion – $1938

New watch alert! A tourbillon has no horological value in a modern wristwatch. It’s pure theater. Given CAD/CAM, 3D printing and the like, it was only a matter of time before Chinese IP thieves artisans figured out how to bring the spinny thing down from high horology’s Mount Olympus to the masses. Via Wallace’s rocket ship! Now available, the ERA Hyperion is the first . . .

Wandering hours tourbillon. The in-house automatic movement beats at 28,800 vph, delivering an impressive 45-hour power reserve. I’m not sure what the “B” stands for, but I’m pretty sure “ERA” doesn’t refer to the Equal Rights Amendment.

TAG Heuer Indianapolis 500 Formula 1 Special Edition LE – $2100

The Indianapolis 500 is go for Sunday, Aug. 23. The cars won’t be social distancing, but the 50 percent capacity crowd . . . probably won’t either. To celebrate the 104th running of what Formula 1 driver Jackie Stewart called “one big left hand turn,” TAG Heuer has beclownedmodified their Formula 1 chrono with an “asphalt” textured dial, brickyard stripe and the Indy 500 flying tire logo.

The special edition Formula 1’s caseback ties the watch to this year’s race. Oh wait. Wrong date. Will that make this watch more collectible, like a misprinted stamp? Meanwhile, the Indianapolis 500 Special is the familiar current Formula 1 TAG – all 43mm’s of it, complete with the world largest tachymeter text.

Doxa SUB 300 – $2,450 (rubber), $2,490 (bracelet)

We named the Doxa SUB 200 Sharkhunter one of our Best Automatic Dive Watches Under $1000. It still is. But if you want a genuine reproduction Doxa SUB with a thicccushion case, the new old 300 is the way to go. Well it was; the popular colors were gone in 60 seconds. On the positive side, the repro annoys HoDinkee’s James Stacey, who spent good money on the previous repro Sub 300.

Of the models currently available, I’m partial to the turquoise – it makes my blues eye pop (in a good way). New watch alert! The new old Sub 300 is COSC-certifiedfor accuracy, temperature and shock sensitivity, and it’s ability to increase Switzerland’s tax base. It sports a unidirectional dive bezel and remains water resistant to 200m. A Rolex Submariner it ain’t, but then what is? (Steinhart review to follow.)

Fortis Flieger F-43 Bicompax – $4500

If you’re a chrono legibility freak, Fortis’ fleiger is super freaky. It’s bi (compax), with an always-on seconds counter opposite a minute counter ringed by bright Berlac Fluor Orange. Its sub (dials) and indices are perfectly proportioned, circumnavigating a 43mm watch that proves that bigger is better. And the bidirectional bezel’s less intrusive than another sexual innuendo (love puns).

According to Fortis, “the Bicompax pushers are concave and feature a subtle grid pattern, which provides a better grip and nicer feel.” So it’s not just me, then. The F-43 may not be named after the HMS Tartar, but its UW-51 movement (Sellita SW510 base) is a horological battleship, water resistant to 200m. In case you were wondering, the red stripe atop the dial helps pilots sync up in flight. Aerobatics for the win.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Frosted Gold Flying Tourbillon – $160k

“When I first saw a photo, I uttered an audible ‘whoa’ at my MacBook,” HoDinkee’s champagne socialist editorreveals. Me too! Only I went “yuck!” and I’m old enough to remember the TV series that inspired the design (Time Tunnel). “This is not a watch for everyone,” Mr. Pulvirent prevaricates, failing to mention the AP’s Ben Clymer-compatible price.

While my wallet’s not up to the challenge, I appreciate the AP’s hypnotic effect – actuated by the diamond-studded tourbillon. I also like the way the industrial chic caseback mirrors the dial design – misaligned screws be damned. While it’s nice to see The Young Prince kick out the jamsafter the  Code 11.59 snoozefest and cynical $53k Chronograph remakewhy can’t they just leave Britney the Royal Oak alone?

Junghans Force Mega Solar – $1195

Junghan’s webpage for the big date Force Mega Solar is almost as minimalist as the solar-powered watch they’re selling. Once you know the “extra-slim” J615.84 multi-frequency radio-controlled movement automatically sets the time on three continents (not at the same time) and that the German timepiece is about as waterproof as a Panama hat, you’re pretty much up-to-speed. And yet . . .

New watch alert! Junghan’s has updated the Force Mega Solar – which sounds like a Godzilla foe – with dark polished or matte-finished ceramic cases, lashed to a lightweight rubber strap in contrasting black, brown or khaki (to match the dial). The watch is illuminated by white, brown or khaki Super-LumiNova and automatically goes into sleep mode during freeze tag. Just like a $13k+ F.P. Journe quartz. So there is that.

Spinnaker Boettger – $650

“Inspired by a feat of Cold War diving heroism, the Boettger is a spin on experiments in tool watch design from the 1970s and 1980s.” If Spinnaker told you what that feat was, they’d have to kill you. So I’ve posted a picture below of the homemade contraption Herr Boettger used to escape Communist East Germany. The ironic/sad thing . . .

is that Spinnaker’s based in Hong Kong, where Chinese communists are busy snuffing out democracy and civil rights. The 42mm Boettger is powered by a Japanese Premium-grade Miyota 9015 automatic, accurate to +/-10 seconds a day. East German build quality? Not even mainland China sinks that low.

Remy Cools Tourbillon Souscription LE– $100k

Mr. Cools called his debut watch the Souscription because he’s Swiss and that’s how you buy his watch: a bunch money down now, a LOT more immediately before delivery. After selling my liver to subsidize Mr. Cool’s spinny thing, I’d send his timepiece to Dr. Frett to blue those screws. Your 100 large buys you . . .

one of nine examples, with two rear-mounted flip-up stainless steel crowns, They wind the barrel and set the time. The 40mm watch’s caseback’s minimalism is astounding, and props to the alligator that sacrificed its life for that gorgeous strap. The script is a bit brash, but for that money you can probably ask Cools to cool it.

Belchengruppe 247 – 120 ° – $2k

Here at the New Watch Alert, we like to throw you a curveball from time to time. Only the 120° doesn’t haveany curves. Not the case, anyway, modeled on the Tesla Cyber Truck. “The dial divides the hour into three sections,” Obermeister Belchengruppe reveals. “It represents the relationship between the eponymousBelchen, but also the stages of a day: morning, afternoon, evening.”

The Belchen is the Black Forest mountain that’s only slightly more verdant than the 120° – both of which are best contemplated while eating Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte(as is much of life). Belchengruppe offers the watch in two dial styles and three case finishes (polished, brushed, or blasted steel). Powered by the Sellita SW290-1, the 120° makes quite a statement. When you find out what it is let me know.

Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman Titanium Auto – $1500

Speaking as a Hamilton pocket watch collector, wow. This behemoth is 46mm. That’s larger than a size 16 pocket watch movement. Hamilton claims the Frogan was “inspired by watches we created for U.S. Naval teams during WWII.” I don’t think so. Or only in the sense that alcohol “inspires” people to act like idiots. That said, the Frogman’s water resistant to an astounding 1000m (a pocket watch doesn’t like to look at the rain) and the lume won’t kill you.

While Hamilton’s coy about the wristwatch’s weight, the titanium timekeeper’s probably lighter than it is heavy, if you know what I mean. Beating within: Hamilton’s ubiquitous automatic H10 movement (base ETA C07.111), which slows down the amplitude to flex an 80-hour power reserve. Was the rubber strap “built to meet the demands of the toughest underwater environment”? I hope not.

G-SHOCK GBDH1000 – $399

If you thought the Hamilton was humongous, you were right. New watch alert! Casio’s first heart rate and VO2max monitoring watch is even larger: 63mm ×55mm × 20.4mm. To facilitate a wrist-borne fitness trainer, the semi-solar powered GBDH1000 uses an algorithm developed by Firstbeat Technologies (owned by Garmin). Not to get too technical, the G-SHOCK gives you workouts, tracks your progress and makes sure you don’t die.

The smartphone-enabled watch provides automatic time adjustment, world time for over 300 cities, alarms and timers a plenty; a training plan, training function setting, training log data management, notification, phone finder, Super illuminator backlight, GPS, heart rate monitor, digital compass, barometer, thermometer, altimeter, step tracker, stopwatch and an automatic power saving feature. Given my fitness, I was hoping for a G-SHOCK defibrillator function . . .

Which are your favorites?

Which of these week’s new watch releases do you have your eyes on? Let us know in the comments!

This article was republished with permission from TheTruthAboutWatches.

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